Massive manhunt ends with capture of suspect near Packard

Derreck WhiteA 14-hour manhunt for an inmate who stabbed a deputy in the neck and fled the scene in a stolen car ended late this evening with the 25-year-old’s arrest near Mt. Elliot and I-94, police said.

The suspect was found near the sprawling, abandoned Packard Plant on Detroit’s east side, an area rife with vacant buildings and other places to disappear.

As the sun sunk tonight, so did the chances of finding Abraham Pearson – or so police had worried. But a tip led authorities to the suspect, who was to be sentenced up to 15 years in prison today on carjacking and robbery charges.

Authorities from the ATF, Border Patrol, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, Michigan State Police and Detroit Police Department, among others, swarmed the east side today after Pearson crashed a stolen silver minivan near Belle Isle. From there, police pursued Pearson a few miles south near Jefferson and Chene, where a maze of apartment buildings, public housing and schools complicated the search. Helicopters buzzed ahead while students in nearby schools were on lockdown.

Manhunt 20130909_3782Police with guns drawn scoured abandoned buildings and occupied houses and apartments for Pearson, who also goes by Derreck White. Tips also took police to the border of Detroit and Highland Park a few blocks west of Woodward at Lawrence Street.

A 25-year-old man delivering flyers on Chene just north of Lafayette told authorities he saw the fugitive run north wearing a white T-shirt.

“He was booking it,” the witness told me after talking to a Homeland Security officer. “Next thing I know, there’s police everywhere.”

A line of police cars perused the windy, narrow roads inside the Elmwood Cemetery, an ornate, historic resting place for Civil War veterans, firefighters, former governors, senators and mayors and other historic figures. Nearby, an armored truck full of police in black helmets and automatic weapons was ready to pounce. Squad cars lined the streets, where Martin Luther King Jr. High School and a maze of large apartment complexes complicated the search.

After classes let out, a surreal scene unfolded outside of MLK Senior High School near Chene and Lafayette. As students in black-and-white uniforms left school, police with automatic weapons perused the area for the still at-large fugitive. Drums thundered from the school yard where a marching band was practicing.

Helicopters circled above, while more than 30 squad cars were positioned outside of the school.

Stay tuned for more details.

Steve Neavling

Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.